Monday, October 26, 2009

SECONDARY CHARACTERS and WISDOM: Rowdy Gives Me Advice About Love and Dance, Dance, Dance: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Rowdy Gives Me Advice is just two pages long, but it reminds me of a point I would like to make about secondary characters, as these two pages feature Rowdy and Gordy, two significant secondary characters. Author Ellen Jackson says this on her website:

“When you write a book, you’re inviting your readers to spend hours with your characters. Most children don’t want to spend those hours with plain, ordinary people--the ones they see every day at the park, at school, at the mall. They want to meet characters–characters in the sense of different, special, interesting people. When thinking about your secondary characters, think quirky.”

Meg, I ask you this -- do characters get quirkier than Rowdy and Gordy??

Story Sleuths Tip 11: To quote Ellen Jackson, “When thinking about your secondary characters, think quirky.”

And now, for Dance, Dance, Dance: At a retreat a few years ago the AMAZING, but now retired Philomel editor Patricia Lee Gauch spoke about the importance of adding lines of wisdom to your text. Just little zingers here and there; one liners about truths your readers can relate to. Consider these:

  • “Lies have short lives.” (119)
  • “But things changed. As things always change.” (123) 
  • “If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.” (129)
Story Sleuths Tip #12: Sprinkle your text with tidbits of wisdom.